Dominique Hammons, an international contemporary jazz violinist hailing from Houston, has recently released his highly anticipated album, “Sweet Escape.” However, Dominique’s contributions extend far beyond his music. He is a passionate advocate for giving back to his community through various initiatives. Through his captivating melodies and philanthropic endeavors, Dominique Hammons is leaving an indelible mark on the world of jazz and making a difference in the lives of those around him.

Hammons has found solace and refuge in his music, as it has become his true sanctuary. Despite gaining a massive following of over a million fans, he remains incredibly humble and continues to share his extraordinary gifts with the world. His music captivates audiences and resonates deeply with those who listen, creating a profound connection that transcends borders and cultures. Dominique’s ability to channel his emotions through his violin is truly awe-inspiring, and his commitment to using his talent for the greater good is commendable. As he continues to touch hearts and uplift spirits, Hammons is a shining example of the transformative power of music and the importance of staying grounded in the face of success.

During this interview, we delved deep into the inner workings of the man behind the music and discussed how the power of his grandparent’s love and belief in him, gave him all the necessary tools to build a powerful and successful career as a highly sought-after musician. 

You have been making music since you were 8 years old, thinking back to that time, did you ever imagine yourself becoming the music sensation that you are now?

I’ve always imagined that I would eventually get to that point, but I never imagined that it would happen so fast. Ever since I was eight. I first started at that point in time. I never thought I would go really far into it. But as I began to progress over the years, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I just didn’t know this was going to happen so fast. But I always knew that I wanted to travel in, perform in different states, and play around different cities and countries.

Well, with you speaking of playing in different cities and countries, what’s one of your favorite cities or countries to visit?

So far Costa Rica I would say is number one. And as for my favorite city, I’m going to have to say New Orleans because they just show me so much love.

You recently released your new album titled, “Sweet Escape.” So, how is this album different from your previous albums and how did the title come about?

So, this album is actually all original songs. There are 11 tracks on it. First off, I wanted to give my audience my own music because I know a lot of people know me from cover songs. And so, I was like, you know what, it’s time for me to have my own content out there, my own music. And so, I thought about dropping this album, The Sweet Escape, and I gave it that name because my platform is always ready to heal through music. And I love when people tell me how much the music affects their lives and they really meditate on my sound, my music. So, I thought this album would really highlight that, bringing people a type of medicine that they would need. It’s a soul-smooth jazz album. So, you get a little bit of both, maybe some R&B as well. And I just wanted this album to really take people out of reality and put their minds into a whole other dimension of just relaxation, just smooth, relaxed vibes, stuff like that. So, I feel like that’s what this album entails. So that’s why I call it the Sweet Escape because you’re escaping from reality into a whole other world of just relaxation.

Why do you think people gravitate toward you and your music specifically?

Well, I really make it a point when I play to not only just play the music, but actually incorporate my emotions and feelings into my music. And I think that’s what sets me apart from a lot of other musicians is that when I play, I put a lot of soul into it. A lot of people call me, some people will say, I’m a soul violinist, and some people say I’m a R&B violinist. So, it’s not really a particular title, but if I were to describe my music it would be soulful. And so, I think that once when I put myself into my music, people can really see that, especially when it comes to my shows, they can really see the emotion coming out of my violin because my violin is how I communicate. And so, I think people just love the authenticity. And then I think they love the realness that comes out when I play, and they can relate to that. So, I think that’s what really helps people really gravitate toward me as an artist.

You’re known for doing a lot of covers. What is the hottest fan favorite that you’ve done in your opinion?

I would say Choppa Style. And that goes back to when I say New York, I’m not sorry, excuse me, New Orleans really shows me a lot of love. I did a video at a wedding; I didn’t even plan it. I played at this wedding in Houston and there was this one song I played at the end that was called Choppa Style by Choppa, and it’s a New Orleans pop song. And I played it and I guess somebody recorded it and they posted it on Facebook and of course, I was tagged in it. And then next thing you know, it just blew up on me. And that particular song really put me on a map on social media. And since then, my social media just growing, growing. So that song is a fan favorite. Everybody knows me from that song. Another song is, Can We Talk by Tevin Campbell.

Do any of the artists who sing the songs reach out to you? 

Yeah, Choppa from Choppa Style. Then I did a song for Ashanti covering her song. She reached out and said how much she loved it and thanked me. And that’s a lot of artists. I mean a lot of people who’ve reached out. Tevin Campbell, I can’t think of the top of my head, but there’s been a lot of different artists that messaged me on Instagram or Facebook saying how much they love the song that I did. And sometimes they would even share it on their page. So that means a lot when they do that.

I read that you have over 1 million followers. That’s awesome and amazing. What is it like for you to be out somewhere just doing your thing, going around your city, going to a restaurant, going to the mall, going to get gas or whatnot, and have people approach you for pictures and autographs? 

Well, it’s all still kind of new. As I said, it’s happening so fast, and the power of social media is just so strong. I mean, just the number of followers that I have that I’ve received over a small period of time, it’s crazy. So, there’s still a lot of adjusting that I’m getting used to. I do have people approach me and they want to take pictures or sign an autograph on whatever they got. It’s still kind of new to me. But I love it. I just love interacting with my supporters, my fans. And it really warms my heart that I have people all over the world that support my music. So, I never shun them off or anything like that. I embrace it because like I said, I do it for them. But it’s still going to get some getting used to. I know it’s going to get worse, but I know it’s going to get only going to bigger, but now I like it.

I’m thinking back to some of the history that I read about you. So, for those who may not know and for our audience, how did you choose the violin, or rather how did the violin choose you?

Yeah, so I didn’t choose the violin personally. I was raised by my grandparents, and I attended a school that offered arts. They had dance, theater, band, and orchestra. So, we had to choose an art area because it was required in order to attend that school. So, my grandmother suggested that I play violin and I’ve never even thought of doing something like that. My mind was on sports, so I gave it a shot and I didn’t like it. But I think the only reason why I didn’t like it was because I just felt like it was just so much you have to learn. It’s such a hard instrument to learn and you have to practice every single day. And me being a kid, I did not want to stay in and practice. I wanted to go do my own things. But over time I grew with it and I got better at it. So, violin definitely my grandmother suggested it and I gave it a shot. So that’s kind of how that happened.

You’re classically trained in music, and you teach the violin to the youth that resides in Houston where you’re from, and beyond. So, why is it important for you to give back in this way?

I’ve had so many people help me and open doors for me. And I felt like the reason why God has given me this gift of music and to play the violin is to give back and change lives. And I feel like that’s what my main objective is on this earth. So sometimes I don’t mind doing things. Sometimes I don’t mind giving back to the community and stuff like that because I feel like that’s so important because the kids are our future. And I have so many parents that tell me that a lot of the kids are starting to violin because of me. And to see that and hear that is really encouraging for me and to know that I’m being an inspiration to somebody. So that’s why I make it so important. I feel like it’s so important to give back to the community because that’s what so many people do for me, and I just want to pay for it.

What is one of the most profound things that has happened to you thus far in your music journey? I know your journey’s going to continue as long as you possibly can, but up to now, what has been one of the most profound things that have happened to you?

Just I would say, I mean there are so many different ones. Maybe when I did a halftime show at the Pelicans Arena and I did Choppa Style and I think it was over 16,000 people there. And that moment really set in, I felt like it changed me in a way to where it was kind of like a confirmation like this is where you belong in front of thousands of people. And just saying how my music is traveling around the world and how I’m traveling, seeing other different cultures different, just how people live. And just for me to be able to see all this stuff at a young age, 29 is, I feel like that’s really, it’s crazy to me and I still have so much more to learn and so much more to see and do. But at this point in my career, I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do and I’m exactly what I’m supposed to be. So yeah, that’s kind of what I would say about that.

How did your childhood shape the man and the musician you are today?

It goes back to just being raised with my grandparents. They were very strict on me, and they taught me hard work. They taught me if there’s something that you want or want to do, you have to work at it. Like I said, of course, I had a bedtime, I would be in bed at a certain time, and I have to be in the house to practice for two hours at least before I do anything else. Just those small things that really taught me discipline and really taught me how to work hard at my craft. So, I always use those principles today to just really keep me grounded.

And I think one of the most important things that I’ve learned or that my grandmother put into me is faith. And being raised in the church, and playing at different churches before, even after classical music, I started playing at various churches around Houston and just being around that just really made my faith in God strong. I thank God every day that I wake up and I can do what I can, travel the world, do what I do, loving what I do. I’m just going to do what I love every day. So, I think those characteristics and being raised by my grandparents have really made me who I’m today.

Are there any rituals that you do prior to performing to get you focused before you go on stage?

To be honest, not really. I mean I guess I could say I’d sit down, and I just relax my eyes, just kind of breathe in and out, because I don’t really get nervous at all anymore. I used to, but I’m so comfortable at it, it’s almost like you going to your job and sitting at your desk that’s how easy it’s for me, I’m just going to work and going on stage just like sitting at my desk. It’s just something I do every day. So, I don’t really have rituals, I just kind of go out and do it. But I do like to be in a relaxed state of mind. So, I’ll probably close my eyes, just kind of meditate, breathe, and after that, I’m ready to go.

I was thinking about this question that I always like to ask artists who are out there traveling, performing, and being in the limelight. So, are there any funny or interesting stories you could tell us that are related to your music or performing? It can even be something that happened that people might not know.

Man, there’s this one moment, I mean there’s been so many moments, but there’s one particular moment where I believe because this was in Westdale, Louisiana and I did a show there with a couple of other artists. And during my set, I believe my manager, John Young, told me that there was a young boy in the audience, I think it was 12, and he had lost his mom from cancer recently. And so when we heard that we planned to bring him on stage. I was going to sing him a song and it just hit home for me because I lost my grandpa to cancer. So, when he was on stage and I was standing there with him, it was a powerful moment. I was crying of course, and he was shedding tears. It was just a really powerful moment for everybody.

So, I would say that’s one of the biggest moments and highlights of my career when it comes to really connecting with the audience. There are so many moments that I’ve experienced. That’s always been my goal, just to heal. It’s not about the followers, the money, and all that. That’s not something I really care about at all. Just as long as I’m changing lives, then I feel like I’m fulfilled.

So, one more thing, what does Dominique Hammons do for fun? What do you do to give back to yourself? 

Yeah, I mean you would say I have no life, it’s funny because I would think that I have no life, but everybody else thinks I have the best life because I’m traveling. But I’m blessed to do that, but literally, when I come back home, I’m in the gym, playing basketball or playing video games, that’s it. Like I don’t know go out, that’s all I do. And then, of course, I record music. But yeah, that’s like my little circle right there. 

What are some of your favorite places to go to Houston or your favorite restaurants?

Oh, I’d say Pappadeaux is definitely in my top three. And then there is the Breakfast Club and Houston Spice.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Yeah, so you can visit all streaming platforms, like Spotify, and Apple Music. My album is available there. Also, I have single releases on there as well just search my name, Dominique Hammons, and it will show my catalog. You can also visit my website, or for information on scheduling or concerts coming up, and stuff like that.

Photo Credits: Jonathan S. Young